How should I select a Realtor to buy a home?

Asked by California Mortgage Broker, Oceanside, CA Mon May 14, 2007

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Laurie Manny, , Long Beach, CA
Mon May 14, 2007
I have written an article "How to Hire the Best Realtor in Your Area" which explains in detail the best way to hire your Realtor. Here is a link to the article.
4 votes
Roberta Murp…, Agent, Carlsbad, CA
Mon May 14, 2007
Brian: An entire boring book could be written about the subject, so I'll stick to some basics: Do your research (google the agent's name for starters), check the agent's credentials, set up an exploratory meeting and trust your instincts. I would also suggest calling the agent's referrals/former clients. And given current market conditions, I would also suggest working with a seasoned and knowledgeable professional.
7 votes
Carole Cohen, Agent, Cleveland, OH
Tue May 15, 2007
Finding agents to interview via word of mouth is a good idea; that's how I found my roofer for my own home; that is how I eventually settled on a car repair service to use regularly; if someone else recommends an agents services it is worth an interview; the next step is to make sure they are knowledgeable about the areas in which you are looking, communicate in a way that makes you feel comfortable and that they know their jobs. Knows the market values. If you want an agent who is internet savvy then of course I would suggest possibly finding them on the internet! It's a start!
6 votes
Maureen Fran…, Agent, Birmingham, MI
Sun May 20, 2007
I give my prospective clients a list of questions to ask all the Realtors they interview. They can add to the list as they see fit. A referral is nice, of course.
3 votes
Clancy Fort, Agent, San Clemente, CA
Mon May 14, 2007
Think of it as a job application process. You have the job that needs to be filled and the REALTORS are the applicants. INTERVIEW the REALTORS with a set group of questions. Give the REALTOR some basic background much you think you can afford; what type of home you’re looking for; what your hopes and dreams are; etc. Now ask...

With my budget where should I be looking (testing the inventory knowledge)?
How do I do it without getting into financial trouble (testing experience and troubleshooting knowledge)?
What should I do to prepare for this purchase (testing experience and troubleshooting knowledge)?
What can I expect when we go buy (testing experience and knowledge of market conditions)?
What is reasonable to ask for from the seller when I make an offer (testing experience and knowledge of market conditions)?
Can you explain the contract to me and what are the loop holes in the contract (This is very important and can save you lots of money) (testing contract knowledge…this is huge. If the REALTOR can’t explain how the contract works, you shouldn’t work with them)?
Ask for references.

More questions will come up as you get into this conversation.

You are looking for a professional who knows what they are doing. They will be able to find you the right home if it exists. They will be able to negotiate the best price and give you sound strategy so you don't get caught in a risky financial position. Pick the REALTOR that answers with solutions that meet your needs and protect you in case something goes wrong.

Buying real estate is probably the largest purchase you will make in life. If you're going to risk that kind of money, make sure the person helping you knows what they are doing.

Don’t let the home you looking at take priority over the professional you’ve chosen to help you. A licensed real estate agent can help you purchase any home whether it is on the market or not. A listing agent that tells you they can get you a better deal on the home if they write the offer is lying to you or not representing their client, the seller, in an ethical manner.
2 votes
simplenickel, Both Buyer And Seller, San Francisco, CA
Mon May 14, 2007
In my case, I prefer to find an agent by word of mouth. Ask your friends and family members.
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2 votes
Edgard Quiroz, , 92694
Thu May 8, 2008
Find an agent that has the credentials to help you evaluate your particular set of circumstances, which are the only basis that matter. The purchase of a home, regardless of the economic conditions, must comply with your individual set of circumstances, goals, objectives, age bracket and other social and economical parameters. Blanket statements such as "now is the time" are typically self serving statements. Having said that, just know that in order to serve you well you in turn must be completely honest and open to share information that is personal and some times confidential, such as income, job path, financial condition, etc.

Good Luck
1 vote
Rebecca Cham…, , Palos Verdes Estates, CA
Sat Jun 30, 2007
Lots of good answers, but one of the most important questions to ask any Realtor you are considering is, "What will you do differently then the 4 other agents I'm speaking to to sell my home?" Selling a home is about Marketing it. Any Realtor can put a property on the MLS, make a flyer and put an ad in the paper, but what is that Realtor going to do that is different and actually bring you the highest possible price for your property?
1 vote
Carrie Mania…, , Laguna Beach, CA
Sun May 20, 2007
Picking the correct Realtor for you is both personal and professional. The realtor you are working with should be honest, ethical, easy to reach, and someone you are comfortable asking questions to, seeking advise from, and sharing your personal information with. Personal references are always a plus from friends, but not always available in the market you are interested in. Websites are a great starting ground to see who is available in your market and also see how knowledgeable they seem. You can get background information on the Realtor, see their specialties, and possibly do a MLS search. Make sure that once you start working with a Realtor that your needs are being met and your feel comfortable with their services.
1 vote
David Saunde…, , 28078
Wed May 16, 2007
To be honest I would go the FSBO route next time. I'm sick and tired of Real Estate Agents and their holier than thou attitude. Taking off the "bling bling" would be a good start....
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1 vote
Dan, , Just Us, Atlanta, GA
Thu Aug 7, 2008
1) Experience - if they've sold in your area and price range before, they can likely do it again
2) Cost - 6% is so 1990s, don't overpay by $1000s, find an agent who won't charge you the full 6%
3) Work Style - different agents have different styles, pick one that works for you. You'll be interacting with this person a lot, so make sure you don't hate him/her.

I run a service that connects buyers and sellers with high quality real estate agents. Check to find lots of agents who'll suit your needs.
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Thu May 8, 2008
My opinion is that you should pick a realtor that has been recommended to you by personal referral. Either by a friend of business associate, who can tell you exactly what their experiences were when working with that agent.
If that is not possible, the agent should be a professional working agent who is familiar with the area you wish to purchase in. It's amazing how much better your decisions will be, when made with the right advice.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Troy Inman, Agent, Lake Oswego, OR
Thu May 8, 2008
The process of buying a home can be stressful, time-consuming, confusing and sometimes even scary. My advice to buyers is to find an agent who truly "fits" your needs. First and foremost, you should feel comfortable with your agent. You will be embarking on an exciting journey, oftentimes with simultaneous "ups" and "downs." In a sense, you will be entering in to a relationship with your agent...touring homes together, processing legal documents and speaking candidly about your finances. This relationship should be based on trust. If you don't feel the "fit" in your first meeting with the agent, look elsewhere!
0 votes
Kay Graff &…, Agent, Annandale, VA
Thu May 8, 2008
It is an excellent time to buy a home. However, it is also very important to make very wise choices.
Real estate traditionally has been a good investment plus fulfilling the need of people to own their own home. Will that continue? What assurances to we have as to the future? None of us can guarantee the future but we do know that experience and knowledge are and have forever been important as one makes a very big investment both financially as well as quality of life. Thus the real estate 'professional'
becomes a very important consultant and advocate as buyers & sellers enter the real estate arena in 2008.
Contact an experienced real estate agent who 1st of all listens and then goes to work for you!
0 votes
Newportfiji, , Long Beach, CA
Thu May 8, 2008
The first question you should ask yourself is whether you actually need a realtor. The harsh reality is that realtors are becoming obsolete. You can get most of the information you need about houses on the market and previous sale prices by looking online. Trulia, Ziprealty, Homeseekers, and are a few sites you can visit to search for available homes in the neighborhood of your choice. These sites offer a wealth of information about each property and allow you to compare listings.

Once you have selected a house, you can submit an offer on your own. I would suggest that you spend a few hundred dollars and have any proposed agreement reviewed by a real estate attorney, who will be much more knowledgeable about the process than a realtor.

With that said, if you are not from the area, a competent realtor (if you can find one) is beneficial. For example, they can refer you to a good home inspector - which is a MUST for any home purchase. Obviously, the best way to find a realtor would be a referral through a trusted advisor such as an accountant, attorney, family friend, etc …. Once you have a few recommendations, interview them and make sure you are comfortable with them and that they have expertise in the specific market you are considering.

If you do use a realtor, MAKE SURE that they rebate or refund part of their commission to you. Many consumers don’t know that most realtors will refund part of their commission (a refund of 25-33% is the market rate). If they are not willing to rebate, there will be many more willing to do so, as the market is slow.

Be VERY WARY of any referral from another realtor. It is just their way of getting their hands on the commission, as they will likely obtain a referral fee from the agent they recommend to you.

Best of luck to you.
0 votes
Joan Patters…, Agent, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Tue May 6, 2008
Hi Just looking,
I would first of all interview several realtors and ask them what they would do for you. I happen to have networks of agents all across the country and internationally as well. If you need a good referral, I would be happy to give you one in Long Beach or any area you are considering. I, actually, ask the agents questions myself and that is how I have built my referral lists. Make sure any agent will do a comparative market analysis on any home you would be considering purchasing. It is important that you have an agent that really knows if you are getting a great value. Believe it or not, there are still homes out there over priced! Some sellers still have not come to terms with this market. I would ask the agent many questions and they should be available to get back to you quickly. Let me know if you still need help!

Good Luck,

Joan Patterson
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes
The_Bayou, , Newton, MA
Tue May 6, 2008
California Mortgage Broker,

I would select a buyers agent carefully depending on your own needs. If you already know the house you want, focus on finding an agent with great negotiating skills and experience in closing transactions. If you don't have the house picked out, but know where you want to live, focus on finding an agent that knows the neighborhoods you want and can get you into homes before others.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Phil Fowler, Agent, Brandon, FL
Tue Jul 10, 2007
Interview some Realtors. Choose an experienced agent who will do a CMA for you on the properties you would like to see if the listing price is in the ballpark. Negotiating skills are imperative! Have them send you or email copies of homes which meet your criteria. Buying a home is not a one time transaction but instead the opportunity for a life long relationship.
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0 votes
Cindy Hale, , Lubbock, TX
Tue Jul 10, 2007
I think this is a great question. I am always astonished that many people pick their Realtor from a sign or an ad. A home is a large asset and you certainly want someone qualified and knowledgeable to do the job. Interview several agents and ask them for references. Call their references. Choose your agent on the basis of ability, references and the comfort level you feel with that person.
Web Reference:
0 votes
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